Alma C. Gutierrez Toledano






Private Equity



By Alma C. Gutierrez Toledano

My first term in Oxford: Lessons Learned

The first thing you learn when you arrive in Oxford is to speak Oxonian. There are no numbered semesters or quarters in Oxford. Terms are divided into three trimesters: Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity.

What people might think as of “Harry Potter style uniforms” is called sub fusc. It consists of black and white smart clothes always combined with a gown and a tie. Sub fusc is worn in matriculation, graduation and on examination days.

Matriculation day is a serious and huge thing as an Oxford student. It is the ceremony that makes you a formal student of the University, regardless of the number of days you had already been at school. It is something that you do only once in a lifetime, so regardless of the degrees you finish in Oxford, it still would be only one Matriculation day. The ceremony lasts 15 minutes, the proudest 15 minutes of your life in Oxford though: when you realise more than ever that you were called in life to learn and give back.

The second thing I learnt here is to open my mind and participate in powerful and amazing conversations. Yes, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real in Oxford, but the most I am fear-of-missing-out is the transformational conversations happening everywhere, and anytime in Oxford. It is a place where you know you are surrounded with smart people doing studies in Mathematical Finance, Biochemistry, Birds Behavior, Social Policy or English Literature. Learning to have any kind of conversation makes your mind free, makes your soul feel what others feel, and shapes you to become in a better version of yourself.

I have also learnt to love and admire myself. This is harder to explain, but it is true that when you are trapped in your daily normal life (without Oxford on it yet), the vision of yourself can become limited. Oxford puts together amazing and smart people together, and, I am part of this pool of people!

So many stories, so many backgrounds, so many experiences, so many languages, so many skin colours, so many nationalities, so many types of knowledge. And still Oxford this year would not be the same in my peers’ memories without me, just as it would not be the same Oxford for me without them on it. And all this is important not only to build self-confidence for my own personal and professional benefit, but also to always remember that as a member of this Oxford community, my actions and decisions speak for these amazing people as well. Being here, makes you feel more committed than ever in doing good wherever you go, wherever you are.

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